Vermont State Police identify Boston man as victim of Bartonsville shooting

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BARTONSVILLE, Vt. — The Boston man found dead of a gunshot wound inside his produce delivery truck parked by the side of Route 103 Friday had been sentenced a year ago for cocaine trafficking in Massachusetts.

Vermont State Police on Saturday identified the dead man as Roberto Fonseca-Rivera, 43. Police said an autopsy would be performed Sunday at the state medical examiner's office in Burlington. Police said he had apparently died of a gunshot wound.

Two bullet holes were visible in the windshield on the driver's side of the Katsiroubas Bros. Wholesale Fruit & Produce truck.

Vermont State Police Detective Lt. John-Paul Schmidt confirmed Saturday afternoon that Fonseca-Rivera was the same man who was sentenced almost exactly a year ago in Massachusetts to a year and a day in prison for his role in a cocaine smuggling ring in the Boston suburbs from January 2015 to July 2016. Schmidt is with the VSP major crime unit.

Fonseca-Rivera was sentenced in U.S. Federal Court in Boston, along with four other men, for importing cocaine from Puerto Rico via the mail.

"I can confirm our victim has a record," Schmidt said at the Vermont State Police barracks in Westminster, after investigators had left the scene on Route 103 in Bartonsville, a village in the town of Rockingham. The truck was found on the shoulder of the southbound lane, between Lower Bartonsville Road and Williams Road, about four miles from Interstate 91.

Schmidt said Fonseca-Rivera, who worked for Katsiroubas Bros. Wholesale Fruit & Produce of Boston, was last seen at about 12:15 p.m. on Friday in Rutland. He said he was delivering produce to the 99 Restaurant in Rutland Town.

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Schmidt said that Fonseca-Rivera then drove south on Route 103, and police are interested if people had seen Fonseca-Rivera and his distinctive green delivery truck along the way. He said as far as he knew, Fonseca-Rivera did not make any deliveries to restaurants in Ludlow or Chester, which are along Route 103. Police believe the shooting took place between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Police said they believed Fonseca-Rivera was shot near the location where his body was found.

The detective said as far as he knew Fonseca-Rivera's truck contained vegetables.

Vermont State Police said the Katsiroubas Brothers firm was cooperating with police in the investigation. A dispatcher who answered the phone at the business, which is located in the Hyde Park section of Boston, said no one was available to talk about the Vermont incident.

Schmidt, the Vermont detective, said he didn't know when Fonseca-Rivera got out of prison. He was sentenced on Nov. 6, 2018, to a year and a day, according to a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Justice.

The other Massachusetts men found guilty in the cocaine smuggling ring were Angel Morales of Stoughton, Pablo Santiago-Cruz of Roslindale, Carlos Reyes of Framingham, and Jorge Montalvo of Roxbury. Morales received 97 months in prison; Santiago-Cruz,180 months; Reyes, 210 months; and Montalvo, 30 months.

Schmidt said anyone who might have seen the distinctive green Katsiroubas truck on Route 103 Friday, or saw a vehicle acting suspiciously near the truck, are asked to call the Vermont State Police Westminster barracks at 802-722-4600.

Contact Susan Smallheer at ssmallheer@reformer.com.


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